Recent studies suggest that social mobility in America has decreased; it is predicted that only one out of five men will succeed in surpassing his father's social status. Poverty, dead-end employment, and lack of education, instead of being overcome, are often perpetuated. Many children's prospects for the future are said to be small.
One wonders how the social statisticians would have viewed Christ Jesus. He was known as the son of a carpenter, yet he rose to the healing ministry. How was Jesus able to transcend the "small future" allotted to a craftsman's son?
The Gospels tell us that from an early age Jesus was aware of his divine sonship. He was about his "Father's business." n1 Though people called him the son of Joseph, he knew he was the Son of God. Can't we enlarge our concept of what the future holds for us by recognizing, as Jesus did of himself, our sonship with God -- rather than identifying ourselves as "sons of Joseph" with a limited parentage?
n1 Luke 2:49.
Though Jesus was unique in his virgin birth, he did not claim an exclusive sonship. He taught us that God is our Father, too, and he paved the way for our individual proofs of this fact. Mary Baker Eddy n2 says of Jesus' example: "From him mortals may learn how to escape from evil. The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 316.
It is mortal selfhood, composed of false beliefs about man's heredity, intelligence, and ability, that labels us "sons of Joseph." This counterfeit selfhood measures man as inferior, unequal, limited, and latent.But these mortal guesstimates cannot measure the Christ or spiritual man.
Christian Science explains the spiritual nature of man. "Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal," writes Mrs. Eddy. "Man reflects infinity, and this reflection is the true idea of God." And she goes on to say, "god expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis." n4
n4 ibid.,m p. 258.
Because God's creation is His perfect reflection, man's intelligence and ability are inherent, not humanly inherited. They belong to his immortal nature. They are not passed along through genes, nor are they the result of human upbringing. As "the infinite idea forever developing itself," man is progressive. He cannot be hemmed in by circumstance or be subject to genetic happenstance. His life moves on a highway and not a treadmill -- the highway of ever-enlarging activity, power, satisfaction, and love.
These truths were driven home for me during my college years. Although I was a good student with good grades in high school, the thought of entering college intimidated me. My parents had had no formal education; fear of competition with other students from more appropriate backgrounds made me feel as if I might not belong in higher education. I consistently prayed to see myself not as a mortal shaped by an environment but as the infinitely intelligent, divinely capable idea of God. There were some bumpy stretches, but at the end of the four years I graduated from my university with high honors and was invited to join a national society for scholastic achievement.
Mortal labels and limitations do not apply to our real being. We are not "sons of Joseph" but sons -- and daughters -- of God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Matthew 12:49,50